I was born on November 8th, 1955 at St. Mary’s hospital in McAlester, OK, the 8th of 12 children born to William and Helen Grego. I grew up on a small farm located southwest of Wilburton, OK. We lived in a three-room house with a coal stove for heat, a propane bottle outside for a cook stove, and NO indoor plumbing. We drew water from a shallow well located nearby. In 1964 my parents built a new house on this same property -- a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home with central heat. We all thought we had went to heaven.
While a youngster in high school I hauled square bales of hay in the summer and later landed a real job unloading boxcars of feed at the local feed store. I graduated Wilburton High School in 1973.
I worked my way through school at Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton and Oklahoma State University, sacking groceries at local grocery stores. After graduating from OSU in December 1977 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Animal Science, I was especially proud of the fact that I had attended four years of college and received my degree, yet never received any financial assistance. No loans or grants. I actually had accumulated a small savings which would be used as a down payment on our first home.
In 1978, I took a job with the United States Department of Agriculture as a Federal Meat Grader. My job as a meat grader took me to Amarillo, TX for two years, Paris, TX for two years and Dallas, TX for four. While living in Texas for eight years I had one goal… to return to Southeastern Oklahoma.
We came home in 1986 when I got hired at the Wilburton Post Office. Nothing could be better than living in your hometown and serving your friends and neighbors. In 1988 I began building my own ranch with calves on rented pasture.
I was later promoted to the Postmaster position in Talihina, OK, and I continued to build my cattle herd and hay baling operations when not at the Post Office. My cattle & hay operations fulfilled my life’s ambitions to be a farmer. In 2009 I retired from the Post Office and became a full time farmer, establishing Grego Farms, a cow-calf operation and custom hay operation. Today, Grego Farms encompasses approximately 1,100 acres of pasture land with 900 acres being owned by my family.
In 1976 while attending Eastern I met my future wife of 40 years, Sandra F. Knight of Red Oak, OK. We were married in January 1978 upon the completion of my education. We are the proud parents of two children; Justin, who was born in 1979 and Landi, born in 1989. We were married at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Wilburton, and we still attend services there, today. Justin married Kelly Curl in 2003 and in 2009 that had a son, Baylor Cash Grego. Justin is an appraiser for Oklahoma Ag Credit in McAlester, OK, Kelly is employed at Kiamichi Technology Centers in Wilburton, OK and their son attends Lakewood Christian School in McAlester, OK. Landi works in the mortgage division at Arvest Bank in Tulsa, OK.
I am a strong believer in giving back to the community and serve on numerous boards and committees. I currently serve as Chairman of Latimer County Conservation District and have served for 22 years. I am Chairman of West End Fire Department and have served on the board for 20 years. I have served over 15 years on the Bowers School House community board, and I currently serve as President of Latimer County Farm Bureau, having served on the board for over five years. In 2010 I was nominated by Senator Richard Leblance and appointed by Governor Brad Henry to serve as Area 5 director to the Oklahoma Conservation Commission.
My wife and I were approached by the Latimer County Free Health Clinic (a community based free health clinic to serve people who have no other access to medical help) about the possibility of renting the group a building we own in Wilburton as their previous location would no longer be available. My wife and I decided we would provide the building at no cost to the organization so that they could continue their work in serving those who need medical attention.
I truly believe I have lived the “American Dream” and that with hard work, dedication and a good education, anyone can achieve anything they set their heart to.